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Let’s Talk About Eye Muscles
Eyeballs. They’re one of the most amazing, complicated and intricate parts of the human body.
But, how much do you really know about this fascinating feature? Many people don’t know all that much about how eyes work, so today we’re talking about eye muscles.
Yep, you heard that right; eyes have muscles.
Just like the muscles in your ears, nose and mouth, there are tiny muscles in your eyes that make them do what they do- and do it so well. Today we’re talking about all things eye muscles, so keep reading if you want to learn more!
In total, there are six tiny muscles that control the eyeball itself, which can be divided into two groups; the four recti muscles, and the two oblique muscles.
To break it down into digestible parts, there are four recti muscles: superior, inferior, medial, and lateral. Each of these share the same origin- a fibrous ring of connective tissue.
“The inferior rectus muscle depresses, adducts, and helps extort (rotate laterally) the eye.” (Wikipedia) Uh, what? To put it simply, the inferior rectus muscle is what moves your eyeball downward.
The function of the medial rectus muscle is to bring your pupil closer towards the midline of your body. The name is derived from the latin word “middle,” and is the largest of all the extraocular muscles.
The main function of the lateral rectus is to pull the pupil away from the midline of your body.
“The lateral rectus serves as the origin for four of the six extraocular muscles, excluding the inferior oblique muscle and superior oblique muscle.” (Wikipedia)
This muscle is located on the upper “medial” (toward the middle or center) part of the eye, closer to your nose. The primary job of this muscle is to turn your eyes inward.
This muscle has a similar function to the inferior rectus, but this muscle moves your eyes upward when your eye is looking towards the nose, rather than away
If you’re wondering, “Why do my eyes hurt?” the reason may be that the muscles themselves are being overworked.
One reason could be that your eyes aren’t properly aligned. If this is the case, you might experience double vision, which your brain rejects. When this happens- to compensate for the misalignment- the extraocular muscles have to work extra hard to keep your eyes moving in sync. Over an extended period of time, these muscles become sore and tired, leading to a wide range of symptoms including headaches, soreness and feeling like your eyes are tired.
Another cause of eye muscle pain is digital eye strain. Spending long hours in front of a screen causes your eye muscles to wear out. To combat this, try to take short, intermittent breaks if you’re going to be working at a computer for a few hours, and try to blink often to moisturize your eyes. For more information about digital eye strain, head over to this article.
Flex those eye muscles! If you’re trying to strengthen the muscles in your eyes, here are a few super simple eye exercises that you can do right now:
Take a bowl of warm water (be careful not to make it too hot!) and a bowl of cold water. Dip a clean towel or washcloth into each bowl. Place the warm compress over your eyes, and enjoy the warmth for about 10 seconds. Then move on to the cold compress, placing the washcloth on your eyes for around 10 seconds. Do this routine at least 5 times.
This strengthens your eye muscles by restricting and contracting as the temperature changes.
This is another exercise that can help easily strengthen your eye muscles. To start, focus on a nearby object for about 5 seconds. Then move on to distant objects and focus on it for another 5 seconds. This sporadic shifting gives strength to the eye muscles, and refreshes them too.
This exercise helps improve your eye muscles and boost their concentration power.
This is probably the most simple on our list, and it might seem silly- but it’s effective!
When you’re working at a computer screen for extended periods, it’s easy to forget to blink. Blinking is an exercise good for tired, itchy and dry eyes. Try blinking your eyes quickly for about 10 seconds. You should feel immediate relief from tired eye muscles.
This is a great exercise for the flexibility of the eye muscles, and this one is also incredibly easy!
Staring at a blank wall, imagine a large figure-8, tilted on its side 10-feet away from you. Now trace this path of the figure 8 with your eyes without moving your head. Do this in one direction for a full minute, and then do the opposite way for a minute.
Aren’t our eyes amazing?
Hopefully this article on eye muscles helped shed some light on an otherwise complicated, highly-technical topic. There’s so much more to learn about your eyes and your vision, so head over to these articles to learn more:
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